My Dad is Baryshnikov

This charmingly unpredictable 2012 Seattle International Film Festival entry from Russia (English captions) is fun from the first arabesque. We have Boris, a gawky geeky misfit being bullied in a Moscow high school ballet class. It's 1986 and Russia is mired in a lengthy un-winnable war in Afghanistan, perestroika is just beginning and the Soviet Union is on its last legs.

Out of a combination of ego and desperation, our inept dancer fixates on his bootlegged VHS tape of Mikhail Baryshnikov in White Nights and decides he has solved the mystery of his long-absent father. His father disappeared about the time the ballet superstar defected to the United States, so... voila! Of course when he mentions this outrageous theory to his classmates, they roll him up in a rug and leave him in a classroom.

He supplies black-market blue jeans to students in the Bolshoi and one thing leads to another. He lets slip his "parentage" and because he can emulate some of Baryshnikov's patented moves, he actually is accepted in the Bolshoi. The instructor seems more interested in the ballerinas than in trying to teach our hero, and the rehearsal pianist furtively reads fashion magazines during class.

You will love his youthful exuberance; his mother, who teaches English (and does some private "tutoring" on the side); and his Jewish grand- parents with their dill pickles and pleas for fresh meat.

You will never expect the ending, despite shades of 42nd Street for awhile! (Remember the eager understudy and the injured star?)

We exited the theater with big smiles. Spacibo!